Rice Erases 48-28 Deficit, Edges UTEP 56-48
Nov. 3, 2007
Chase Clement set school records for passing yards, total yards and passing touchdowns, leading Rice to a come-from-behind 56-48 victory over UTEP on Saturday in Houston.
Clement completed 32 of 58 attempts for 395 yards and six scores as the Owls (2-7, 2-3 C-USA) posted their first home win of the 2007 season and dealt a blow to the Miners' bowl hopes. UTEP dropped to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in league play and will need to win two of its last three games to be bowl eligible.
The Miners will close out the regular season with games at Tulane (next week) and UCF (Nov. 24), sandwiched around a home matchup with Southern Miss on Nov. 17.
Clement also rushed for 103 yards, and Jarett Dillard caught 11 passes totaling 168 yards to lead Rice.
The Owls trailed 48-28 in the fourth quarter before erupting for 28 unanswered points. Clement hit Tommy Henderson, Toren Dixon and Dillard for short TDs, then ran for a nine-yard score with 3:38 to go to put his team up by eight points.
It marked the fourth time in Conference USA play that UTEP has been involved in a game where both teams scored over 40 points.
The Owls finished with 558 yards of offense, including 192 in the fourth quarter. UTEP had 422 yards.
Trevor Vittatoe threw for 373 yards to set a UTEP freshman record for passing yardage in a season. Vittatoe completed 30 of 57 attempts, giving him 2,211 passing yards in 2007. John Rayborn was the previous freshman record-holder with 1,913 yards passing in 1995.
Fred Rouse was the Miners' leading receiver with five catches for 100 yards. Lorne Sam had nine receptions for 86 yards, and Jeff Moturi extended his streak of games with a receiving touchdown to eight.
The game started on an ominous note for the Miners. Marcus Thomas fumbled on UTEP's first offensive play, giving the Owls the ball at the Miner 11-yard line. On the very next play, Clement connected with Toren Dixon for an 11-yard touchdown.
Thomas had zero yards rushing on 11 carries in the first half, and finished with 51 yards on the ground to end his school-record streak of 100-yard games at five.
The Miners scored 17 straight points to start the second period in building a 20-14 lead. After Rice went ahead 21-20 at the half, UTEP scored 22 third-quarter points to take a 42-28 lead heading into the final period.
Vittatoe's 23-yard pass to Joe West increased the Miners' advantage to 48-28 with 14:44 remaining before the Owls rallied for the victory.
UTEP forced seven turnovers, its most takeaways in a game since 1989 versus San Diego State (seven) ... UTEP dropped to 1-3 on the road this season and trails the Rice series 6-5 ... Price tied Mike Brumbelow for the most 40-point games among UTEP coaches with 14 ... UTEP has scored 40+ points in five of its last six games ... the Miners had scored on 23 straight trips to the Red Zone spanning over seven games before Thomas was stuffed at the Owl one-yard line on fourth down early in the second quarter. UTEP had also been 16-for-16 in the Red Zone in Conference USA games prior to the play ... Cornelius Brown and Quintin Demps both had interceptions in the game and are tied for the team lead with four picks each this season ... Jose Martinez was 2-for-2 on onside kicks in the game, making him 4-for-4 on the season ... Jason Boyce's fourth quarter interception was the first by a Miner defensive lineman since 2005, when Alex Obomese had two picks ... Rouse's third quarter touchdown was his first as a Miner and his first TD in a college game since Oct. 8, 2005 when he was at Florida State.